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03-09-2011, 08:56 PM
Ah, dolce far niente!
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: My own little world
Re: Demon Eyes
One would think with all of these strange claims and valuable trees of Wiemlick Forest that people would come flocking to Bren. This is not the case. The trails that connect Bren to the rest of the world are poor and overgrown, spanning many miles before reaching even the smallest of human settlements. Only the annual traders brave the long path, which they complain unceasingly about when they come. Without them, there simply would not be any contact between Bren and the world outside of Wiemlick Forest.
There are numerous reasons for this. The first is that Wiemlick Forest is more or less a valley between mountains that challenge even the sky. While the mountain range itself does not hold quite as violent a reputation, it is indeed wild and treacherous. To pass over it, one has to reach dizzying heights, and will often be forced to brave steep slopes and dangerous cliff faces. This makes wagon trains almost impossible, and even an avid traveler will find themselves breathless in the thin mountain air.
Another reason is the animals. Most wild creatures are easily scared off by humans, and make for good game, but they are a threat to the unwary. Wiemlick Forest is home to many dangerous predators, including bears, wolves, and mountain lions. I enjoy watching these creatures from a distance, but only Bren's hunters dare to approach these animals. Just to keep them out of the village, food has to be stored carefully, and the farmers are always chasing deer and rabbits away from their crop. Travelers who do not understand the importance of this will often find themselves invaded by a curious squirrel, and in more dangerous cases, a bear. This general presence and threat of wild creatures most certainly keeps those inexperienced with travel away.
However, I have not mentioned the most dangerous of creatures that is the main source of fear for all in Bren. Weimlick Forest is widely known for its giant spiders. This breed of spider is unique even to giant spiders in general, who are more often found in cavernous regions. They have adapted to the forest region, living off of small and large herbivores alike. Some have even been known to kill bears.
These giant spiders of the forest also have stubbier and more hairy bodies than a typical giant spider, for they prefer to move over the bushy ground of the forest rather than climb trees or rocks. While they are still perfectly capable of moving vertically up cliff faces, they do not have the grace of a typical giant spider. However, they make up for this lack in grace with brute power, and a bite from one is more likely to kill a person by crushing them to death, rather than poisoning them.
When one is unlucky enough to be bitten, their venom serves only to paralyze, and the victim will likely be taken off to the spider's burrow to be eaten. These giant spiders prefer to make their own burrows, and a particularly large group may have burrows that are intricately connected underground. They are also able to make very sticky webbing, which they generally use to suspend their or immobilize their prey.
While I have always viewed a giant spider to be no more malicious than any typical wild animal, they are viewed as a great source of evil in Bren. To make sure they do not come close to the village, there is always a large fire kept going at night in case one is foolish enough to approach the settlement. Their aversion to light is well known, and they fear fire like no other creature I have seen. They come out only at night, but their multiple red eyes are easy to distinguish from the rest of the forest. If one strays too far from the village at night, it is not unheard of to be taken off by one of the large creatures. While most are no larger than a mountain lion, they can grow to be as tall as ten feet.
Still, perhaps the largest reason Bren has few visitors is because it is a village of little consequence. There is no great wealth in Bren, nor any vast storage of knowledge. While its roots can be traced back as far as the oldest trees, there are no great stories or legends told of it. Epic creatures do not live here, nor beings of any mythological significance. There is no large productivity or fine goods here, the best clothes made of homespun wool and the greatest tools being well used and soiled equipment purchased from the traders. The village is as old as the trees and just as simple.
Despite this simplicity, however, Bren to me is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have stood on the mountainside many times, watching the morning fog of the mountains dispel as the sun rose over the horizon. As the first rays of light hit the valley, rainbows sprung up from the mist, reflecting off of every drop of dew suspended by the branches of leaves and swaying grass. Through this mist one can see an ocean of green, the crowns of the trees rippling like ocean waves. Above this are the mountains, their brown and gray stone turning to pure white at they reach for the heavens. They stand like teeth against the deep blue sky, sapphire torrents of water rushing down their deep crevices. The air is cold and sharp, filled with the scents of trees and wildflowers that spring everywhere there is soil to spare.
Bren is also quite visible when viewed from atop the mountain. One can usually see a few tendrils of smoke rising from trees as well as the wide pastures that make the land look like a small patchwork quilt. There are also the round roofs of wooden huts and the grassy dugouts which house the people of Bren. Animals are kept within small fenced pastures, and if one looks close enough, they can see the cows and horses that graze within them. Through these pastures and farms, trees dot the area, though much sparsely than the rest of the forest. This grassy expanse is then enclosed by trees, surrounding Bren with both forest and mountains.
With all of this natural beauty, I am somewhat glad that there are few humans to interrupt it. If more settlers were to come and drive out the spiders, the magic wood would become sparse as well as the wild creatures. Perhaps Bren would even become a great city with many paved roads, and the villagers would forget the good earth that brought them life. I have heard of such things occurring in other places, but as long as the hand of industry stays far from Bren, the creatures of Wiemlick Forest have little to fear.
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